Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. This article covers the FAAB bidding in the Tout Wars and LABR mixed auction, NL-only and AL-only leagues. LABR uses a $100 FAAB budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids.
Tout Wars’ free agent deadline is at 8 pm ET on Sunday while LABR’s deadline is Sunday at midnight ET.
All statistics in this article are through Sunday’s games.
TOUT WARS MIXED AUCTION
Derek Dietrich $127 (Other Bids: $44, $26, $20)
After last week’s FAAB extravaganza, this week figured to be relatively quiet, and it lived up to the lack of expectations. Dietrich was the big buy of the week in Tout Mixed, with Derek Van Riper of The Athletic coming in strong with a $127 bid — well over his competitors. Dietrich has been released and FAABed twice in Tout Mixed, presumably because he isn’t quite a full-timer. The Yasiel Puig / Jesse Winker / Nick Senzel outfield makes it tough to install Dietrich as a regular in the outfield, and Dietrich’s defense is a little rough in the infield. I see him as a no-brainer in 15-team mixed, as long as the bat remains potent.
Cavan Biggio $125 (Other Bids: $103, $89, $67, $39, $0)
The son of Craig Biggio (the term “bloodlines” will never not be weird and creepy), Cavan got the call on Friday and hit his first big-league dinger yesterday. Biggio was seen mostly as a legacy minor leaguer and not a future major leaguer until a swing adjustment led to a power breakout in 2018. The good times continued this year at Triple-A prior to his call-up. There are questions about Biggio’s eventual defensive position and whether he’ll be squeezed out in Toronto by the other young up-and-comers on the roster. For now, you should ride the power/speed combo as long as he’s playing, with the caveat that the swing-and-miss could hurt his batting average.
Kevin Cron $111 (Other Bids: $49)
Cron is one of those dudes where if you had only looked at his minor-league line, you’d ask yourself, “Why the HELL hasn’t this dude been called up yet? What is WRONG with you people?” Never viewed as much of a prospect due to a long-ish swing and a hulking physique that made him seem too slow/awkward to survive in the majors, it also didn’t help that Cron was stuck at third base in the Diamondbacks’ system because he was blocked at first base by franchise icon Paul Goldschmidt. Not only did Cron continue to hit this year, but he also mashed the crap out of the ball at Triple-A, to the tune of 21 home runs in 199 plate appearances and a .339/.437/.800 line. I don’t care about the venue; that’s tremendous. Cron also had a great BB/SO ratio, so it’s not like he was swinging for the fences, hitting cookies out of the yard, and missing everything else. Cron could steal the job at first base from Christian Walker, although the opinions on how possible this scenario is are split.
Mark Canha $78 (Other Bids: $0)
Canha will be the Athletics’ primary DH while Khris Davis is on the 10-day IL with a hip injury. Canha has been terrific this year in a limited sample, but he’s a .238/.308/.434 career hitter in 1220 plate appearances so slow your roll, as the kids like to say… what do you mean the kids don’t say that? Canha has some pop and he’s in a good Oakland lineup, so plug him in if you have the need.
Willy Adames $67 (Other Bids: $55, $0)
After an excruciatingly painful and slow start, Adames has picked it up in May with a strong .299/.373/.507 line in 76 plate appearances. Even accounting for the recent bump, Adames’ overall fantasy line remains underwhelming, particularly in the stolen-base department. Adames’ defense will keep him in the Rays’ lineup, but for him to provide mixed-league value, he’s going to have to be a 15/10 hitter at a minimum. But in 2019’s context, even that might not be enough in deep mixed to make him more than a placeholder/injury replacement.
Sean Newcomb $54 (Other Bids: $23, $13)
Newcomb was very good in Atlanta’s rotation in 2018, but there were a few warning signs indicating that it might have been a fluke. Those warning signs became flashing neon lights this year when the wheels came off and Newcomb found himself in the minors. Promoted back to the bigs as a reliever, Newcomb has been extremely effective, most surprisingly harnessing the control that has been the biggest problem throughout his career. Newcomb is primarily garnering attention because he picked up a save last week against the Giants and could find himself in line for more opportunities if Luke Jackson falters.
Josh Naylor $49 (Other Bids: $43)
Naylor has a higher ceiling than Cron does, but if you’re judging based on 2019 alone, you probably want Cron. Naylor could hit his way into the Padres’ long-term plans, but for the moment he only appears to be up because the Padres are playing a couple of series in AL parks and Naylor can be used as a designated hitter. Unless there’s an injury, I suspect this is mostly a short-term call-up and Naylor won’t be up for very long.
Jake Marisnick $36 (Other Bids: $20)
You wouldn’t know it from their won/loss record, but the Astros are riddled with injuries. This gives Marisnick a short-term opportunity to accrue every day at-bats. Marisnick has a fair amount of pop and some speed, although the batting average should crater (he’s not going to maintain a .368 BABIP). The other risk comes in the form of Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker potentially getting promoted in the near future, making a talented and crowded roster even more crowded and sending Marisnick to the bench.
Ryan Yarbrough $29 (Other Bids: $22, $15, $0)
After a tumultuous start to the season, Yarbrough has righted the ship and is once again pitching like the solid arm he was in his 2018 breakthrough campaign. Yarbrough’s value comes because he’s a “follower” and gets the advantage of a strong Rays team behind him, giving him plenty of opportunities for pitcher wins. Yarbrough’s overall numbers aren’t particularly strong, and the lack of a high strikeout rate hurts him somewhat, but those wins play in formats that use them.
J.P. Crawford $27
Scott Oberg $26 (Other Bids: $0)
With Wade Davis nursing an oblique injury, Oberg is the presumptive closer for the Rockies. But maybe not. The 29-year-old organizational soldier has picked up a pair of wins since Davis went on the 10-day IL, but no saves. Oberg should be added because of those potential saves, but the low strikeout rate would make me nervous in any venue. And Coors has a way of making me extremely nervous.
Elias Diaz $22
Drew Pomeranz $13 (@MIA)
Keon Broxton $13 (Other Bids: $3)
Gerardo Parra $4
Marcus Walden $4 (Other Bids: $0)
Alex Reyes $4
Evan Longoria $3
Tim Locastro $2
Ivan Nova $1 (KC, CLE)
Tommy Milone $1 (TEX, LAA)
Nick Anderson $1
Odubel Herrera $1
Francisco Liriano $0
Brandon Workman $0
TOUT WARS AL
Keon Broxton $152 (Other Bids: $58, $48, $2)
Broxton’s power and speed potential is tantalizing. He has 34 home runs and 54 steals across 864 career plate appearances, which would make him a fantasy asset if he could hold down a regular job. Alas, he also has a career strikeout rate of 37 percent, and while Broxton’s defense is good, it isn’t as spectacular as sometimes advertised. The Orioles picked up Broxton from the Mets, and if there’s a team that can afford to simply run a player out there regardless of any weaknesses, it’s the Orioles. Broxton’s upside is a poor man’s Jonathan Villar, but the crash-and-burn potential is high, even on Baltimore’s sad-sack squad.
Lourdes Gurriel $131 (Other Bids: $74, $72, $33)
I raised my bid for Gurriel at the last second from $86, needlessly outbidding myself. The Tout Wars mono leagues have a four-player reserve list (not including the injured list), but I was nonetheless surprised Gurriel was cut by his original buyer. He fits my team of everyday grinders, assuming Gurriel sticks this time around. A big part of the problem in April was Gurriel’s defense, and he has been moved to the outfield in an attempt to avoid this issue.
Zach Plesac $47 (Other Bids: $21, $12) (@BOS, @CWS)
A Tommy John survivor, Plesac had generated very little buzz coming into this season, but started garnering attention due to increased fastball velocity and improved results. Plesac mowed through Double-A and held his own at Triple-A before Cleveland decided to promote him. If you can only use Plesac only for his start against the White Sox, do that. However, in weekly leagues you’ll almost definitely have to swallow the Boston start as well. Plesac is described as not having a quality offspeed offering (he’s a fastball/change arm), which makes him a challenging pitcher to project, especially if he stays in the rotation.
Derek Fisher $45 (Other Bids: $8, $6)
Fisher would have received a two- or three-month trial run by now on most big-league teams, but the Astros are so stacked that he has mostly served as an injury replacement, riding the Round Rock/Houston shuttle the past few seasons. He’s back in Houston thanks to George Springer’s injury and could produce some solid home run and steal totals if he plays, but a high strikeout rate has kept Fisher from maximizing his fantasy tools. He also could get squeezed by the imminent (?) call-ups of Alvarez and Tucker (see Marisnick’s blurb, above).
Nestor Cortes $27
Matt Harvey $17
Ryan Weber $14 (CLE, @NYY)
Steve Pearce $13 (Other Bids: $2)
Luis Arraez $8
Eric Sogard $8
Chris Owings $8
Casey Mize $7
Adrian Sampson $6 (@SEA, KC)
Tommy Milone $6 (TEX, LAA)
Gabriel Ynoa $6 (DET)
DJ Stewart $5 (Other Bids: $3)
Cam Bedrosian $3
Chance Sisco $3
Yusmeiro Petit $1
Framber Valdez $0
Travis d’Arnaud $0
Guillermo Heredia $0
Terrance Gore $0
Nick Wittgren $0
Joakim Soria $0
Kevin Cron $17 (Other Bids: $13, $12, $6, $3, $1)
I bid $13, coming up just a little short to the NFBC squad’s winning bid.
Scott Oberg $12 (Other Bids: $6, $5, $4, $3, $3)
I bid $4. I’m next-to-last in saves and don’t want to overextend myself in the category.
Mike Yastrzemski $6 (Other Bids: $1)
Yaz stalled out as a prospect in 2015 after a swing change turned him from a line-drive spray hitter into a ground-ball hitter (swing changes aren’t always good/productive). However, Yaz started hitting home runs at Triple-A in 2018, and it’s possible that the 28-year-old figured something out and could stick. The Giants sad-sack outfield also helps Yaz’s cause. Mike is Hall of Famer Carl Yastrazemski’s grandson. (Can you hear the wind whispering “bloodlines”?)
Josh Naylor $5 (Other Bids: $2, $1, $1, $1)
Sam Dyson $1
Ildemaro Vargas $1 (Other Bids: $1, $1)
Aaron Altherr $1
Shaun Anderson $1 (@BAL)
Anthony Swarzak $1
Jedd Gyorko $1 (Other Bids: $1)
Adeiny Hechavarría $1 (Other Bids: $1)
TOUT WARS NL
Kevin Cron $161 (Other Bids: $123, $46, $34, $29, $14)
Josh Naylor $87 (Other Bids: $9, $2)
Scott Oberg $78 (Other Bids: $32, $32)
Mike Yastrzemski $38 (Other Bids: $1)
Victor Caratini $37 (Other Bids: $0)
Caratini has a little pop and has slightly more value than your typical backup backstop.
Genesis Cabrera $32 (Other Bids: $7) (@PHI)
Michael Wacha has been removed from the Cardinals’ rotation, and Cabrera will take his next turn in a tough matchup at Philadelphia on Wednesday. He has a great fastball but has struggled with his offspeed stuff, and it’s possible Cabrera’s long-term future is in the bullpen. His minor-league numbers are very bad (6.35 ERA in 39 2/3 innings). I’d be wary of using him in any format.
Adeiny Hechavarría $22
Ildemaro Vargas $14
Tomas Nido $11
Monte Harrison $11
Tyler Chatwood $11
Ervin Santana $3
Anthony Swarzak $2
Tim Locastro $1 (Other Bids: $0, $0)
Phil Gosselin $0
Caleb Ferguson $0
Dillon Maples $0
Stephen Vogt $0
Noel Cuevas $0
Jose Osuna $0
Aaron Altherr $0
Jackie Bradley $6 (Other Bids: $1)
Bradley has had an awful year. This isn’t trenchant analysis, but for lack of a better way of putting this, it’s difficult to pinpoint what the hell is wrong with Bradley. He has picked it up a little bit with three home runs in May, but the batting average is still bad and he hasn’t stolen a base this month. The Red Sox will keep playing Bradley because of his defense, but I can understand why he was dropped in LABR Mixed. I can also understand why he was picked up this week.
Lance Lynn $5 (Other Bids: $3, $3, $2, $2) (@SEA, KC)
For his career, Lynn’s ERA has been better than his FIP, but that script has flipped in the last two seasons, much to his fantasy managers’ dismay. Lynn’s strikeout rate has hovered just below a batter an inning, which sounds OK until you consider that the league rate has jumped in that time. Lynn is good primarily as a volume play, and his matchups this week are very favorable in any format.
Albert Almora $2 (Other Bids: $1, $1)
Almora has hit for more over-the-fence power this year, although in the context of 2019 it’s not like he’s having a monster year. The added power gives him a little more value in deeper mixed formats, particularly with Ben Zobrist on an indefinite leave and Jason Heyward coming down to Earth after a hot April.
Cavan Biggio $26 (Other Bids: $23, $23, $21, $18, $13, $11, $9, $2)
Keon Broxton $18 (Other Bids: $13, $6, $4, $1)
Luis Arraez $9 (Other Bids: $1)
Like his teammate Willians Astudillo, Arraez has a contact-first profile that you don’t see very often in an era where most hitters swing for the fences. If he can find his way to consistent plate appearances, Arraez could hit .300, which means even more now than it did a few years ago when league batting averages were higher. Even as a starter, Arraez’s profile is suited to AL-only. The swing isn’t geared toward a power spike, even with the juiced ball.
Tommy Milone $2 (Other Bids: $1, $1) (TEX, LAA)
Every year some major-league team calls up Tommy Milone to plug a hole in their rotation, and every year I’m compelled to write about him when someone follows suit and picks him up in an expert league. Milone is with the Mariners now, and you could do worse in an AL-only than to use him in two home starts against the Rangers and Angels. Milone is the definition of a matchup play. You don’t want to get enamored with him if you pick him up and these two starts go well. Fringe starters outperforming their expectations are the siren song of mono leagues, and in an era where you need strikeouts to win your fantasy leagues, grabbing someone who will strike out about six batters per nine isn’t a winning formula.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now